Daily Devotional with Dr. Charles Stanley @ InTouch.org
Monday, October 31, 2011
The Freedom of Salvation
Read | Galatians 3:10-13, 21-24
Most of us are accustomed to working for a reward. We get paid for a completed job, and there’s a bonus when our effort exceeds expectation. It’s understandable, then, why so many people assume salvation depends upon our actions. But thankfully, that is simply not the case.
The Ten Commandments reveal God’s standard for holiness, but besides Jesus, no one has ever obeyed them perfectly. In fact, James 2:10 points out that “whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of it all.” Just one jealous thought, unkind comment, or dishonoring action to parents is all it takes to be a lawbreaker, according to God’s specifications.
In other words, if salvation depended on our inadequate self-righteousness, nobody could be saved. But these ten rules weren’t intended to save us. Instead, they were meant to show our helplessness and point us to Christ (Gal. 3:24).
Our heavenly Father knew that in our own strength, we were inadequate to keep His law. Yet out of grace, He sent His sinless Son to take the penalty we deserved for our wrongdoing—death (Rom. 6:23). Jesus bore our iniquities, died, and rose from the grave. In doing so , He conquered sin so that we can be free.
Jesus’ death and resurrection broke the bonds of sin. Are you living in the freedom His blood made possible? We can do nothing to reconcile ourselves to God; our only hope is to accept the free gift of the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf. In surrendering our life to Him, we find true freedom.
Justification by Faith
1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?
5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” 9 So then those who areof faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
The Law Brings a Curse
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”
13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
The Changeless Promise
15 Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. 16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,”who is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. 18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave itto Abraham by promise.
Purpose of the Law
19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.
21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
Sons and Heirs
26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.